Soniah Kamal

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'Islam is not Pakistan's religion; Marriage is'

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Slavery in 2007

In November a show titled 'Competition' aired on This American Life. Act 1, Cowboys and Indians (though not those Indians) is about a group of Indian workers brought from India with promise of subsequent green cards Oklahoma to work in a factory where they find everything is not as they were told. Mr. Pickles, the factory owner who recruited them, finds himself in a pickle (no pun) when trying to get in tune with globalization in this way, and eventually the Indians, through sheer good luck, manage to find help. The story is infused with moral and ethical questions, beginning with the cost of exotification on both sides i.e. India very very poor/ US great good & plenty. I think Ira Glass ends in a particularly interesting way: Mr. Pickles might or might not be wrong about his assumptions concerning India, but the Indian workers found the US shining after all...
link to the show
John Bowe has written a book on on the sordid incident:
Nobodies: Modern American Slave Labor and the Dark Side of the New Global Economy

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